News

Exhibition of artwork by offenders curated by young people from Walsall Youth Justice Service

Fri 16 December 2016

An inspiring collection of artwork, writing and music by offenders is to go on display at mac birmingham from 13 January to 26 March 2017. The exhibition entitled: Beyond the Doorhas been curated by young people from Walsall Youth Justice Service and will present pieces selected from entries to the 2016 Koestler Awards entered from the West Midlands.

Up to 85 works in the exhibition have been selected by young curators from Walsall Youth Justice Service from over 500 entries from the West Midlands to the UK Koestler Awards, an annual scheme that has been rewarding artistic achievement in the criminal justice and secure settings for over 50 years. The Koestler Trust aims to support ex-offenders, secure patients and detainees to lead more positive lives through participation in the arts, and to share this work with the public.

Sally Taylor, Chief Executive, Koestler Trust said: “The Koestler Trust is delighted to be returning to mac birmingham where our work has always been received with great interest and enthusiasm. The curation project by Walsall Youth Justice Services has been able to add an important and different vision to the show this year, which we hope audiences will find inspiring.”

Jessica Litherland, Visual Arts Producer, mac birmingham added: “We are very excited to be supporting the Koestler Trust again with their wonderful exhibition. The breadth of style, medium and approach within the work is always very inspiring and thought provoking. It has also been a real pleasure working with the young people from Walsall Youth Justice Service on the curation of the exhibition, I am sure our visitors, and the artists, will agree that they have done an amazing job.”

The young curators for this exhibition got involved in a number of workshop sessions that included art and music activities. They learned about curating, engaged with a range of artwork and met arts professionals. They worked together to select the final pieces for the exhibition and decided on themes and layout.

The project aimed to provide a positive experience for local young people, to broaden their horizons by introducing them to a new subject and making them feel welcome in an arts environment. Through looking at art and music entered into the Koestler Awards, the young curators considered the realities of life inside and discussed why people might make art in prison or other secure settings.

Emma Donnelly, Senior Practitioner at Walsall Youth Justice Service said: “Curating the Koestler West Midland’s exhibition gave our young people the chance to engage in the arts and contribute to their rehabilitation. Using the arts as a channel helps bring young people back into education, training or employment.”

Young Curator for Beyond the Door commented: “Being involved in this activity has actually inspired me to do art, it was a good opportunity to work with others and appreciate different forms of art.”

Beyond the Door is kindly supported by APM, Barrow Cadbury Trust, 2015–16 High Sheriff of the West Midlands, Grantham Yorke Trust, Malvern Hills Decorative Fine Arts Society, Birmingham City Council, Walsall Council and Arts Council England.

Beyond the Door opens at mac birmingham from 13 January to 26 March 2017.

For press enquiries contact Marcia Springer, Senior Communications Manager at mac birmingham at marcia.springer@macbirmingham.co.uk or Nami Chikhlia, Exhibitions & Events Co-ordinator at the Koestler Trust at nchikhlia@koestlertrust.org.uk.

We are very excited to be supporting the Koestler Trust again with their wonderful exhibition. The breadth of style, medium and approach within the work is always very inspiring and thought provoking. It has also been a real pleasure working with the young people from Walsall Youth Justice Service on the curation of the exhibition, I am sure our visitors, and the artists, will agree that they have done an amazing job.”

​Jessica Litherland, Visual Arts Producer, mac birmingham

Being involved in this activity has actually inspired me to do art, it was a good opportunity to work with others and appreciate different forms of art.”

​Young Curator for Beyond the Door

The Koestler Trust is delighted to be returning to mac birmingham where our work has always been received with great interest and enthusiasm. The curation project by Walsall Youth Justice Services has been able to add an important and different vision to the show this year, which we hope audiences will find inspiring.”

​Sally Taylor, Chief Executive, Koestler Trust